Thursday, 27 August 2015

So what's the story?

This chap greeted me on my way home on Monday evening. I was walking back from the Convent of Sant Daniel, just outside the city walls of Girona when I spied him, towering large on the side of a building and looking for all the world as though he was suffering from the mother of all hangovers.

On reflection though, I think he's been dancing a Sardana, the traditional dance of Catalonia that originated in this part of Empordá. He's certainly dressed for the part. It's danced in a circle with everyone holdings hands, and my guess is it's all left him feeling a little bit dizzy ... .

All the best for now,

Bonny x

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

First thing in the morning/ last thing at night dog walks ...

The Wonder Dog is always sitting with his paws crossed first thing in the morning and last thing at night, so my day tends to start and finish with a stroll to give him a chance to do what all well trained dogs wait to do outside ... .

Here in sunny Sant Feliu de Guixols on Spain's Costa Brava we live just above the harbour, which is where I usually take him on these outings. I'm a lousy sailor, but I love the idea of messing around on boats, so the harbour always draws me in. Added to which there's something very special about how the sunlight plays across the water in the early morning and late in the evening. It gives me a real sense of a beginning and an ending, which neatly bookends my day.

Our village fishing fleet includes some pretty big boats, and some not-quite-so-much-to-boast-about boats.  I'd really rather not put to sea in this little barcito. To my landlubber's eye it looks like a floating bathtub.

Yesterday I had to go to Figueres, where I stopped off to see my old friend DalĂ­. Did you know that he's actually buried in his museum up there? Weird! Anyway, I digress. All this Dali-in-the-sun stuff and these boats in dry dock (below) were starting to remind me of his long-legged elephants. Does anyone else see it? No, just me, eh? Ahem, I think I can hear the men in plimsols and white coats pulling up outside ... .

On our way we pass a bank covered with the most wonderful purple Morning Glory, which is strictly off limits to the Wonder Dog for any leg-lifting type activities. 

Yesterday in the late afternoon there was scarcely a breath of wind. The sea was like a mirror and, as the shadows lengthened, the reflections were perfect.

Emi came along and did a lot of talking about how he'd really like to learn how to fish. This was his Spanish side talking. When you go to the beach out here with a bucket and spade none of the other children are very interested, but should you chance to bring a half-decent fishing net you'll be the toast of the shoreline and everyone will want to take a turn at trying to catch something. 

We walked past some children who were armed with rods, nets and a catering size mayonnaise tub in which they were keeping this little chap. He doesn't look like he'd be much of a dinner for anyone. Emi was full of admiration. I just hoped they'd gently toss him in again. 

On warm, balmy evenings like this it's hard to believe that September is just around the corner, bringing with it a return to school and all our usual routines. I so don't want summer to end. 

But already this place is emptying out a little. There's a gentle, but perceptible drift back to work and the city. It's getting easier to find a space to park in town, and there aren't quite so many people stretched out enjoying the rays on the beach during the heat of the day.

We still have a healthy population of seagulls for company. They're a raucous bunch. They all congregate on certain blocks of the breakwater, leaving other blocks totally empty. I think they're having a bit of a gossip, catching up on each other's news and just generally chewing the fat.

And then, on our way home, we walk past the scary chap below.  I know it's not a good thing to draw on other people's walls, and I really shouldn't encourage that type of behaviour - especially if young Emi is anywhere within earshot, or reading over my shoulder. But you have to admit this little guy is rather charming in all his naive simplicity, and the wall that he adorns did look a bit cheerless before he showed up.

Anyway, look who's trashed the sofa and is demanding another walk ... and he's a very hard chap to say no to. 

All the best for now,

Bonny x

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Catalan Harvest L'Horta de Can Patxei

The other day we went for a long lazy lunch with Mr B's family. They're a fun bunch who enjoy their food, and can be totally guaranteed to choose a good restaurant. My brother and sister-in-law live, who just outside of Pals, suggested we go to Can Patxei, an arable farm with a restaurant added on for good measure.

The food, the company, the ambience and the vino were all fabulous. I'd make a rubbish restaurant critic as I always have too much fun to break off and take photos of the food and analyse exactly what they've put on my plate. Suffice it to say that it was all super-delicious, very tasty, traditional Catalan food.

But what I really enjoyed was seeing the fruit harvest at close quarters. After we'd all over-indulged at the table we went for a little stroll around the farm. Just feast your eyes on the grapes:

Monday, 24 August 2015

The 900 year-old Tapestry of Creation, Girona Cathedral ...

Yesterday I walked through the Treasury of the Cathedral of Santa Maria in Girona. It's a building that I know well and love dearly. In its treasury are some rare and wonderful things, but one of the most impressive is the Tapestry of Creation. It is a thing of great beauty; a true survivor that amazes not only by its antiquity, but by its size and complicated iconography. It combines the story of Creation with the cosmography of the calendar and the history of the Legend of the True Cross.

It's also a thing of mystery. They think that it was created for use in the Cathedral, and they believe that it was created somewhere within the city of Girona , but they don't know what it was used for, who made it, or where exactly it was woven and embroidered.

Friday, 21 August 2015

La Fosca ... and the Castle of St. Esteve de Mar, Costa Brava, Catalonia

Yesterday we met up with a bunch of friends for a long, lazy lunch at one of our favourite restaurants, the Hostal La Fosca. We enjoyed some fabulous food and a good catch up, and then everyone headed for the beach. The children had their hearts set on an afternoon of messing around on pedalos, the grown ups wanted to stretch out in the sun and chat, but something else, the ancient castle of St. Esteve, sitting on the near horizon caught my eye.

La Fosca with the Castle of St. Esteve de Mar in the background